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What's the best hint/tip you found this year?


Pierogi
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They did indeed cook perfectly, so the tip is awesome from that perspective, but they came out as scary looking industrially square pillow shaped eggs ...
I can imagine serving them though, and people wondering how you got those those perfectly cooked pouched eggs to come out square. You could call them egg pillows ... people would ask how you did it.

In the link that KatieLoeb posted for The Perfect Poached Egg, the very first recipe instruction is this:

- Get some microwaveable clingfilm

If you are supposed to be using FDA-approved, microwave-safe plastic, I'm not sure what the concern is. Is the premise that microwave-safe plastic actually becomes unsafe in boiling water? Are we suspicious of the FDA? Or is it that old prejudices against plastic wrap are hard to break?

I know I am probably steering this thread off-topic again, and for that I apologize, but I still can't figure out what the big fuss is about.

"There's nothing like a pork belly to steady the nerves."

Fergus Henderson

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I was so busy being fascinated with perfect poached eggs I forgot to add this other tip. After opening a container/jar of food, bottle of soda etc, store it upside down in the fridge so the air pocket is at the end where it cannot escape through small cracks. Food stays much fresher, much longer this way. This has worked for me for sour cream, cottage cheese, jars of salsa or spaghetti sauce and most importantly two liter soda bottles. Soda virtually can't go flat. Or at least stays carbonated long enough for me to finish an entire bottle.

Just make sure your lids or caps are tightly screwed on or locked into place.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I was so busy being fascinated with perfect poached eggs I forgot to add this other tip.  After opening a container/jar of food, bottle of soda etc, store it upside down in the fridge so the air pocket is at the end where it cannot escape through small cracks.  Food stays much fresher, much longer this way.  This has worked for me for sour cream, cottage cheese, jars of salsa or spaghetti sauce and most importantly two liter soda bottles.  Soda virtually can't go flat.  Or at least stays carbonated long enough for me to finish an entire bottle.

Just make sure your lids or caps are tightly screwed on or locked into place.

That is why I keep most of the bottles/jars etc., in my fridge contained in wire or mesh "organizers" which also makes it super easy to clean the fridge. Instead of moving all those small containers, I only have to pull the organizers out and set aside while I wash and dry the shelves. I have both deep and shallow ones.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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After opening up a bottle of champers, if you do not finish it, you can keep the fizz by putting a metal teaspoon (handle inside bottle) in the top. It will maintain its fizz until the next day. (not as fizzy but not flat). Think my Mum told me of this.

I do not heat up anything in the micro in either plastic or styrafoam. Leaches like stuff I cannot pronounce like crazy.

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That is why I keep most of the bottles/jars etc., in my fridge contained in wire or mesh "organizers" which also makes it super easy to clean the fridge.  Instead of moving all those small containers, I only have to pull the organizers out and set aside while I wash and dry the shelves.  I have both deep and shallow ones.

Great idea. Our fridge is clearly a refuge for stray condiments, because half the time there's no room for anythng else in there & moving things aside to see what's in back, or clean up any spills is no small task.

Do you suffer from Acute Culinary Syndrome? Maybe it's time to get help...

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After opening up a bottle of champers, if you do not finish it, you can keep the fizz by putting a metal teaspoon (handle inside bottle) in the top.  It will maintain its fizz until the next day.  (not as fizzy but not flat).  Think my Mum told me of this.

It's an Urban myth; the teaspoon (metal, plastic or otherwise) has no impact on the fizz retention.

Itinerant winemaker

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. . .

That is why I keep most of the bottles/jars etc., in my fridge contained in wire or mesh "organizers" which also makes it super easy to clean the fridge.  Instead of moving all those small containers, I only have to pull the organizers out and set aside while I wash and dry the shelves.  I have both deep and shallow ones.

Andie,

I am having a hard time visualizing these "organizers". When you have time and energy could you post a photo or two, please?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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. . .

That is why I keep most of the bottles/jars etc., in my fridge contained in wire or mesh "organizers" which also makes it super easy to clean the fridge.  Instead of moving all those small containers, I only have to pull the organizers out and set aside while I wash and dry the shelves.  I have both deep and shallow ones.

Andie,

I am having a hard time visualizing these "organizers". When you have time and energy could you post a photo or two, please?

I think they're probably similar to those white plastic basket you can get at dollarama. I've seen the wire/mesh ones at Target.

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Consider using a chef's knife to prepare 1/4 C of minced garlic. During the mincing, pieces of garlic accumulate on the sides of the knife. So, the question is, what to do about this garlic on the sides of the knife?

Here is my solution: Just keep mincing. Soon will have the garlic scattered over the cutting board. So, use the back, dull, edge of the knife to collect the garlic in a pile. Then 'wipe' the sides of the knife over the pile of garlic.

This wiping effort works well enough: As the garlic gets cut into smaller pieces, the pile becomes more effective at removing the pieces from the sides of the knife.

Soon will have nicely minced garlic, a knife that is clean enough, and no garlic on fingers!

What would be the right food and wine to go with

R. Strauss's 'Ein Heldenleben'?

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After opening up a bottle of champers, if you do not finish it, you can keep the fizz by putting a metal teaspoon (handle inside bottle) in the top.  It will maintain its fizz until the next day.  (not as fizzy but not flat).  Think my Mum told me of this.

It's an Urban myth; the teaspoon (metal, plastic or otherwise) has no impact on the fizz retention.

Yeah I also saw that episode of Mythbusters :biggrin::biggrin::biggrin::biggrin: Seems the best way to keep the bubbles is just cork it :raz:

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. . .

That is why I keep most of the bottles/jars etc., in my fridge contained in wire or mesh "organizers" which also makes it super easy to clean the fridge.  Instead of moving all those small containers, I only have to pull the organizers out and set aside while I wash and dry the shelves.  I have both deep and shallow ones.

Andie,

I am having a hard time visualizing these "organizers". When you have time and energy could you post a photo or two, please?

I bought them at Staples - they are desk and shelf organizers. Very sturdy - I also have shallower ones like the black one in the other fridge as they are ideal for holding cheeses.

I also have them in the freezer for holding stuff in bags. Keeps it much neater and makes it easier to find and rotate stuff.

gallery_17399_60_62041.jpg

Edited by andiesenji (log)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I was really getting irritated with my fish sauce bottle. The cheap plastic flip top would not stay closed. I even tried to duct tape it. Then I up ended a heavy bottomed shot glass over the top and the weight was enough to keep it shut and it allows for easy access. Sound overly simple, but I was really getting frustrated with the fish sauce smell in the cupboard. Since I use it pretty much daily, I love this solution.

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I bought them at Staples - they are desk and shelf organizers.  Very sturdy - I also have shallower ones like the black one in the other fridge as they are ideal for holding cheeses.

I also have them in the freezer for holding stuff in bags.  Keeps it much neater and makes it easier to find and rotate stuff.

. . .

Thanks so much. I have the much larger ones in my freezer, two per shelf, and you are right, it helps keep the freezer organized. Not sure I can adapt your idea to my fridge but will certainly be giving it some thought.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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picked up 2 tips for non-standard use of a crock pot

for thanksgiving, make you mashed spuds ahead of time and keep them in a covered crock pot on warm/low setting!! Toasty hot spuds at service guaranteed.

this one is even better...

after thanksgiving (or any meal than generates a carcass)

take the turkey carcass, hack it up, stick it in the crock pot with some veggies and water...the next day, strain off your flawless stock!!

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Remembered another one this week while making dinner, and again, cannot for the life of me remember where I heard it, although I heard it repeatedly during 2008:

When you're slicing onions, and you want the onion slices to retain some body and texture, and not become mushy and stringy, slice them lengthwise (from root to top) and not crosswise (parallel to the equater). I've heard recently that if you cut the onion in half from pole to pole (lengthwise) its better to, but IMO that doesn't make a huge difference.

You may need to angle the knife a bit to get neat slices, but its worth it.

--Roberta--

"Let's slip out of these wet clothes, and into a dry Martini" - Robert Benchley

Pierogi's eG Foodblog

My *outside* blog, "A Pound Of Yeast"

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man, just lost about three paragraphs of typing. Maybe I should be more brief.

This was one of this weeks new ones.

Better dried beans.

I'm doing a stage in Tuscany, so I wouldn't question my chef on white beans.

I know this goes against some conventional wisdom, but trust me here, I've cooked alot of beans in my life and these are really the best.

Start by blanching 3-5 minutes and shocking in rapidly boiling, salted water. We use the big pasta cooker at the restaurant.

Next saute off rough chopped mirepoix in alot of olive oil suitable for saute. I'm talking almost a shallow fry. Drain beans very well and parch (saute basically) for 3-5 minutes as you would start risotto. Now finally add your stock or water, pork or bone if you want (we use a bone from a prosciutto) and a few bay leaves. Simmer lightly until al dente.

When al dente, cover tightly with plastic and allow to cool to room temp. Store for reheating in liquid/aromatics.

Oh, don't peal carrots, just scrub. I personally never peal them. Just make sure they are well cleaned, the flavor difference is amazing.

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man, just lost about three paragraphs of typing.  Maybe I should be more brief.

This was one of this weeks new ones.

Better dried beans. 

I'm doing a stage in Tuscany, so I wouldn't question my chef on white beans.

I know this goes against some conventional wisdom, but trust me here, I've cooked alot of beans in my life and these are really the best. 

Start by blanching 3-5 minutes and shocking in rapidly boiling, salted water.  We use the big pasta cooker at the restaurant.

Next saute off rough chopped mirepoix in alot of olive oil suitable for saute.  I'm talking almost a shallow fry.  Drain beans very well and parch (saute basically) for 3-5 minutes as you would start risotto.  Now finally add your stock or water, pork or bone if you want (we use a bone from a prosciutto) and a few bay leaves.  Simmer lightly until al dente.

When al dente, cover tightly with plastic and allow to cool to room temp.  Store for reheating in liquid/aromatics.

Oh, don't peal carrots, just scrub.  I personally never peal them.  Just make sure they are well cleaned, the flavor difference is amazing.

I'm cooking a lot oc cannelini and borlotti right now, so I will be trying this one.

Thanks!

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This was a tip from Mario Batali.

When cooking onion and garlic together, if you add them to hot oil, the garlic will burn. Instead put them into a cold pan with the oil, turn on the heat and cook.

Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

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  • 2 weeks later...
man, just lost about three paragraphs of typing.  Maybe I should be more brief.

This was one of this weeks new ones.

Better dried beans. 

I'm doing a stage in Tuscany, so I wouldn't question my chef on white beans.

I know this goes against some conventional wisdom, but trust me here, I've cooked alot of beans in my life and these are really the best. 

Start by blanching 3-5 minutes and shocking in rapidly boiling, salted water.  We use the big pasta cooker at the restaurant.

Next saute off rough chopped mirepoix in alot of olive oil suitable for saute.  I'm talking almost a shallow fry.  Drain beans very well and parch (saute basically) for 3-5 minutes as you would start risotto.  Now finally add your stock or water, pork or bone if you want (we use a bone from a prosciutto) and a few bay leaves.  Simmer lightly until al dente.

When al dente, cover tightly with plastic and allow to cool to room temp.  Store for reheating in liquid/aromatics.

Oh, don't peal carrots, just scrub.  I personally never peal them.  Just make sure they are well cleaned, the flavor difference is amazing.

What about the use of salt the second time, after you add the stock? At the beginning or end?

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man, just lost about three paragraphs of typing.  Maybe I should be more brief.

This was one of this weeks new ones.

Better dried beans. 

I'm doing a stage in Tuscany, so I wouldn't question my chef on white beans.

I know this goes against some conventional wisdom, but trust me here, I've cooked alot of beans in my life and these are really the best. 

Start by blanching 3-5 minutes and shocking in rapidly boiling, salted water.  We use the big pasta cooker at the restaurant.

Next saute off rough chopped mirepoix in alot of olive oil suitable for saute.  I'm talking almost a shallow fry.  Drain beans very well and parch (saute basically) for 3-5 minutes as you would start risotto.  Now finally add your stock or water, pork or bone if you want (we use a bone from a prosciutto) and a few bay leaves.  Simmer lightly until al dente.

When al dente, cover tightly with plastic and allow to cool to room temp.  Store for reheating in liquid/aromatics.

Oh, don't peal carrots, just scrub.  I personally never peal them.  Just make sure they are well cleaned, the flavor difference is amazing.

What about the use of salt the second time, after you add the stock? At the beginning or end?

Don't salt again until they are finished. I also think that the beans we have here are some sort of superwhitebean. I cooked some averagewhitebeans the other day and they didn't blow me away the way the others do. I think it's still worth deciding for yourself though.

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Am I the only person who worries about plastics leaching into my food?  That clingfilm idea gives me the willies.

Not at all! In addition, I will never reheat an item in plastic containers in the microwave - even though they swear it's microwave safe. That stuff *does* leach into your food. Just do a quick search on bis-phenol-a (PBA).

Also, I no longer automatically reach for the non-stick pan. I only use one if absolutely necessary - and would really prefer to eliminate the use of one altogether.

Same here. I use plastic for storage but not for reheating or cooking. Pseudo-oestrogens(bis-phenol-a) in plastic may leak out of plastics particularly when heating fatty foods. I just use Pyrex or similar.

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We've had the thread about "Recipes that Rocked in 2008" running for a bit, and it's been, well, rocking with its information.

So how about a companion thread.

What is the single best kitchen/cooking hint or tip or shortcut or technique you learned in 2008?  The source would be interesting as well.

I'll start....

For me it was to salt your salad greens BEFORE you dress them.  Toss the greens and the other ingredients with some salt, then dress them and toss with the dressing. Adjust the seasoning at that point if needed.  It makes a huge difference in taste, I don't know why, but it really does.

And for the life of me, I can't remember where I found that little gem.  I'm pretty sure I read it in a newspaper article, and I'm also pretty sure that the credit was given to either Judy Rogers of the Zuni Cafe, or Joyce Goldstein of Square One, both San Francisco institutions.

I'm sure that this practice well predates the SF crew. The Caesar salad recipe in my 1975 version of Joy of Cooking specifies tossing the lettuce with salt (and dry mustard and pepper) before any other ingredients, and I'd be willing to bet it's been written about long before then. I'm guessing this technique allows the greens to absorb some of the salt before they're coated with oil.

Edited by Alex (log)

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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